Science of Drawing and Memory Retention

It has long been recognized that sketching something helps one remember it. Drawing, according to recent research, outperforms other hobbies such as reading or writing because it challenges people to absorb information in various ways: visually, kinesthetically, and semantically.

Researchers discovered that sketching information was a strong technique to increase memory, virtually doubling recall in a series of studies. The drawing was verified by the researchers to be a “reliable, reproducible technique of enhancing performance”—it significantly improved pupils’ capacity to retain what they were learning. Drawing’s effects were not reliant on the students’ degree of creative skill, suggesting that this method may work for all pupils, not just those who can draw well. 

Drawing, unlike listening to a lecture or viewing a picture, is an active activity in which pupils actively absorb knowledge. Students are forced to wrestle with what they’re learning and reconstruct it in a way that makes sense to them.

The main point to remember is to encourage pupils to sketch. This is a useful technique for improving student learning because it challenges students to explore an idea in new ways, which enhances memory.

It would be a mistake to believe that sketching is advantageous because it engages a specific learning style. The concept that kids learn best when teachers strive to adapt lessons to a particular modality has been refuted by research.

Drawing, on the other hand, engages many modalities—visual, kinesthetic, and semantic—which is preferable to engaging only one. Students process information in three separate ways when they sketch it, thus learning it three times.

How Can You Use Drawing in Your Lessons?

You’re probably trying to think of methods to include sketching in your classes now that you’re aware of the memory advantages. Fortunately, there are several options!

1. Make Posters

Divide your students into small groups and have them make and decorate a poster or an infographic on the topic to place on the wall, whether you’re presenting a new topic, gaining additional practice, or revising for an exam. Make sure there are lots of photographs!

If you’re only focusing on important concepts, have your pupils make a word wall with images!

2. A Pictionary-style Game

A popular game in many homes may be adapted to suit your classroom! Form groups of your class members. 4 or 5: Write vocabulary words or phrases on index cards. Request that each team sends their first artist to you to show you the first card. When they are ready, start a 60-second timer! As you walk around the room, keep an eye out for the first team to get the word. The first team to mention it receives a point.

While playing Pictionary; Close the door to your classroom. It may get rather loud!

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3. Vocabulary for Visuals

Visual Vocabulary approaches provide excellent opportunities to engage with learning information via drawing. These vocabulary visual prompts function as printable doodle note templates, allowing students to make drawings and visual memory triggers to help phrases stay in long-term memory.

The graphic design of these study aids enables pupils to cognitively organize the information in their heads, comprehend the linkages and connections between concepts, and recall the course content more effectively! There are several options to sketch. Students gain additional brain benefits by combining text and pictures to take advantage of dual coding. More information on “visual vocabulary” tactics, in which students create and draw graphic memory aids, may be found here.

Students should be encouraged to draw. This is a useful technique for improving student learning because it challenges students to explore an idea in new ways, which enhances memory.

Carter Martin

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